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Interstate Commission for Adult Offender Supervision | Ensuring Public Safety for the 21st Century

Bench Book - 5.2.1.2 Constitutional Violations Related to ICAOS

That the Compact itself does not create a private right of action does not mean that offenders subject to it are left without a remedy under Section 1983. Instead, it means that their complaints must be framed as violations of a right enumerated in the Constitution. Numerous reported cases give examples of the type of constitutional violations that offenders allege in relation to their supervision under the Compact.

A leading case is Doe v. Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole, 513 F.3d 95, the Third Circuit case noted in the subsection immediately above. In Doe, a sex offender who transferred his probation and parole supervision from New Jersey to Pennsylvania sued receiving state officials under Section 1983, claiming that they violated his equal protection rights by subjecting him to community notification requirements that exceeded those applicable to non- ICAOS offenders in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania required every out-of-state sex offender who moved there to submit to community notification, whereas offenders convicted of similar offenses in Pennsylvania were subject to notification requirements only if, after a civil hearing, they were designated as sexually violent predators. The court rejected Pennsylvania’s proposed justifications for the differential treatment, noting that Pennsylvania’s own compact-enabling legislation specifically stated that the state will supervise ICAOS offenders under “the same standards that prevail for its own probationers and parolees.” Id. at 108. Even applying the most deferential level of constitutional scrutiny (rational basis review), the court found no rational relationship between Pennsylvania’s legitimate interest in public safety and its policy of disparate treatment for out-ofstate offenders. The court therefore held that Pennsylvania violated Doe’s right to equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Id. at 112.

In Jones v. Chandrasuwan, 820 F.3d 685 (4th Cir. 2016), the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit held in the context of a Section 1983 action that probation officers from a sending state (North Carolina) violated an ICAOS probationer’s Fourth Amendment rights when they sought his arrest without a reasonable suspicion of a violation. The alleged violations (a failure to pay fines and costs, absconding) were not properly coordinated through the receiving state’s (Georgia) ICAOS office, which led to a misunderstanding about the probationer’s address and whereabouts. He was arrested and improperly detained for seven days. Notwithstanding the finding that the probation officers had violated the defendant’s constitutional rights, the court ultimately determined that the officers were entitled to qualified immunity, as discussed below in section 5.3.6.

Of course, not every alleged violation will be an actual constitutional violation. For example, in Brock v. Washington State Department of Corrections, No. C08-5167RBL, 2009 WL 3429096, at *1 (W.D. Wash. Oct. 20, 2009), a parolee transferred supervision from Montana to Washington through the Compact. The offender alleged, among other things, that Washington parole officials violated his federal constitutional rights (1) under the Due Process Clause by failing to hold a probable cause hearing on the alleged violation and (2) under the Confrontation Clause by offering hearsay testimony at his violation hearing. The court concluded that the failure to hold a preliminary hearing—even if required by statute—did not give rise to a constitutional violation when the final violation hearing was held three days after the violation report was filed. And as for the alleged Confrontation Clause violation, the court found that Sixth Amendment confrontation rights apply in a criminal trial, not at a parole violation. Id. at *8. With no constitutional violation alleged, the court dismissed the suit without any need to consider whether the defendant-officials were protected by immunity or another defense.

Another recurring fact pattern that generally has not been deemed a constitutional violation is a receiving state’s failure to release an offender from detention in a timely fashion upon learning that the sending state does not intend to retake the offender. In Kaczmarek v. Longsworth, 107 F.3d 870 (6th Cir. 1997) (unpublished), the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit found no constitutional violation when a Compact probationer was held in the receiving state (Ohio) for more than a month after officials there learned that the sending state (Michigan) would not pursue retaking. The court rejected the offender’s argument that the delay violated his rights to due process and to be free from cruel and unusual punishment, noting that the sending state alone does not “call[] the shots” in Compact cases. Id. at *4. To the contrary, the receiving state was entitled to apply the same standards to Compact offenders that it would apply to its own supervisees— including detaining them when they had other charges pending, as was the case here. Id. at *2. See also Perry v. Pennsylvania, No. 05-1757, 2008 WL 2543119, at *1 (W.D. Pa. June 25, 2008) (a receiving state did not violate an offender’s constitutional rights by detaining him without bond during the pendency of charges in the receiving state, even after the sending state determined that it would not issue a probation warrant related to the receiving state charge).